The introduction to Dies Domini wraps up today with this section. I hope I haven’t appeared too hard on Pope John Paul thus far. It’s mainly that I don’t think the law-n-order approach was terribly effective when this document was written and I don’t think it works today. That doesn’t mean I disagree with the man. He certainly is correct that keeping Sunday holy is a duty:
7. The duty to keep Sunday holy, especially by sharing in the Eucharist and by relaxing in a spirit of Christian joy and fraternity, is easily understood if we consider the many different aspects of this day upon which the present Letter will focus our attention.
And as he writes, we will cover a lot of aspects in these next few months. Some words of inspiration, namely, that we should be confident when we turn time over to God. God will not disappoint:
Sunday is a day which is at the very heart of the Christian life. From the beginning of my Pontificate, I have not ceased to repeat: “Do not be afraid! Open, open wide the doors to Christ!”.(Homily for the Solemn Inauguration of the Pontificate (22 October 1978), 5: AAS 70 (1978), 947) In the same way, today I would strongly urge everyone to rediscover Sunday: Do not be afraid to give your time to Christ! Yes, let us open our time to Christ, that he may cast light upon it and give it direction. He is the One who knows the secret of time and the secret of eternity, and he gives us “his day” as an ever new gift of his love. The rediscovery of this day is a grace which we must implore, not only so that we may live the demands of faith to the full, but also so that we may respond concretely to the deepest human yearnings. Time given to Christ is never time lost, but is rather time gained, so that our relationships and indeed our whole life may become more profoundly human.
What do I glean from the introduction to Dies Domini (available in its entirety here)? God loves his people. He knows that, in love, we are better as a people and as individuals for attending to spending time with him. We are made for a higher life than the endless drudgery of serving either an external master in the world, or the sternness we can generate from our own motivations. Sunday is a day of freedom, Sunday is a festival. And it is ours to seize.